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Black Flags and Windmills [Kindle Edition]

scott crow
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Print List Price: £14.99
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Book Description

When the US government failed New Orleans in 2005, author Scott Crow headed into a political storm, co-founding a relief effort known as the Common Ground Collective. In the absence of state leadership, the unusual volunteer organisation based on solidarity, not charity, built medical clinics and set up food distribution. Crow's vivid memoir maps the intertwining of his radical experience and ideas with the brutal reality of Katrina in a story of resisting indifference, inviting the reader to learn from the mistakes of recent history.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1297 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1604860774
  • Publisher: PM Press (22 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006ZX9SDG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #853,161 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Righteous dudes! 26 Feb. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book. Righteous dudes!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag (Narrative, Memoir, Journal, Primer, Manifesto)...But It's All Good... 26 Mar. 2012
By Truman Chipotle - Published on
Black Flags and Windmills is scott crow's first-person account of his experiences as one of the leaders of a volunteer group that assembled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in an effort to directly help people and make a difference on the scene in Algiers. It is a harrowing narrative, and crow (the author uses all lower case letters in his name) does an excellent job of conveying all the many emotions that he went through, as he became aware that a friend of his (a fellow activist for peace and civil rights) was among the many cut off from help in that section of the NOLA area. He takes the reader along for the ride as he experiences everything from compassion, fear, hesitation, heartbreak, feelings of helplessness, and then on through the fear to courage borne of outrage and righteous indignation, with the end result being effective, direct action.

Along the way, crow interweaves into his text a personal memoir that recounts the twists and turns of his life that led a lower-middle class kid who came of age in a dismal, intellectually stultified suburb of Dallas, TX during the Reagan 80 to eventually land with both feet in a sort of compassionate, collectivist socio-political movement that crow describes as "'little a' anarchism". The author does a fair job of painting this picture for a general audience. (While I come from a similar socio-economic background to crow's, I was largely unaware of the various activist and peace movements simmering right under my nose all these years). I get the impression that the various strands of these movements can be somewhat insular and operate (perhaps by necessity) in a rarefied environment, but crow walks a careful balance for the reader, avoiding the temptation to be too didactic on the one hand, while at the same time trying not to talk in movement jargon that will alienate the general reader like myself.

What we ultimately get with crow's first full length publication, is an interesting mix of on-the-streets narrative, personal memoir, activist primer and perhaps even a bit of a manifesto (I mean that in a good way). Given the scope of what crow is trying to convey and all that he is trying recount, he can certainly be forgiven for a bit of unevenness in the book as a whole. Where the book truly takes off and soars is in the way it shows us the disaster of Katrina, and the disaster of our government's ham-fisted response to it, through the lens of a compassionate group of people who risked their health and safety to act directly, instead of sitting at home watching television in horror and waiting for others to act.

The icing on the cake, is that we get an introduction to a very different way of looking at the world and its structures of power, a world-view that put scott crow and his colleagues in the right place, at the right time, to do the right thing by his conscience and for his friends in Algiers. This is a book that will shake up your ideas about your personal safety and security under the supposedly solid ground of America's infrastructure and the supposedly benevolent hand of federal government, and it is a book that will make you start thinking about where your own responsibility begins, in your own personal search for the right ways to do the right thing in a nation gone wrong.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars panthers, zapatistas, and anarchists! oh my! 29 Nov. 2011
By james - Published on
This book tells the story of the exhilarating first months of Common Ground Relief, an organization that formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to provide relief to the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, in defiance of the bumbling government and non-profit bureaucracies that couldn't bear to step out from behind their desks and conventional wisdom to help desperate people out of the flood waters. It is a story of hope amid tragedy, as Common Ground succeeded in doing what FEMA and the Red Cross could not (at least on a localized scale in the Algiers neighborhood) with nothing more than a handful of volunteers, some donated bicycles and communications equipment, and a tremendous amount of courage, creativity, and perseverance.

Crow traces the history of experiences, ideas, and philosophies that brought him to New Orleans and led him to help co-found Common Ground. His narrative is fast-paced and engaging, and some of his stories of the days and weeks after the storm are intensely dramatic and truly riveting. The narrative is intermixed with a dose of political theory that is well-grounded and very accessible. Some of the analysis stops short of blowing my mind or lifting me out of my seat to yell "amen!" and many of the bigger questions and lessons are left in the subtext for readers to extract themselves, rather than being made explicit and direct. But, with Occupy Wall St. capturing much of the country's imagination in response to seemingly permanent economic and social crisis, Black Flags and Windmills offers valuable insights, questions, and lessons about where we have been, where we might think about going, and ways we might get there. It challenges us to act big and dream bigger, because our lives depend on it.
5.0 out of 5 stars freedom is not free and requires great integrity 27 Dec. 2013
By VanessaTheVivacious - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
even in the face of the most base, humanly reprehensible, conditions, we always have a choice. making the 'right' choice is painfully challenging at the worst of times and liberating at the best. Scott Crow faces impossible decisions and makes mistakes but stands with integrity and proves 'WE' don't need 'THEM' to save us, protect us, guard us, rule us.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for anarchists, activists and organizers 29 Nov. 2011
By Satori - Published on
Scott Crow tells his story from a young man who didnt fit in to an amazing organizer and activist. We are taken into his thoughts as he wrestles with who he is in a world of uncertainties and chaos. This is a must have book!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you care about being a decent human being- read this! 25 Oct. 2014
By Joy V. - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great read about the grassroots volunteers who were in New Orleans after Katrina. A must read for anyone who cares about social justice, health care, and being a good human being.
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